Union City Police Officers charged Antonia Lima, 39, of Union City, with abandonment and endangering the welfare of a minor after she allegedly left her newborn baby girl on a doorstep on Monday at approximately 9:30 a.m.
According to Lieutenant Bill Clifford, the baby girl was found on the doorstep of 401 46th St. when Idania Delgato went to throw away a bundle that she mistakenly thought was garbage. After hearing the bundle crying, Delgato realized that there was a baby girl wrapped in blankets with the umbilical cord still attached in the open garbage bag.
Delgato then tied the umbilical cord and called the police.
“When found, the baby’s body temperature had dropped to about 92 degrees and she had lost fluids because the umbilical cord was not tied off,” said Clifford.
The baby, who was found to be within 24 hours old, was first taken to Palisades General Hospital, but then was transferred to the Children’s Hospital of Hudson County and housed in the Jersey City Medical Center on Baldwin Avenue and Montgomery Street.
“When we picked her up, the baby was blue and not moving because she was so cold,” said Jersey City Medical Center Director of Public Affairs Lynn McFarlane, who added that the baby needed help breathing. “She has been in critical condition ever since,” McFarlane said.
Searching for mom
When Delgato found the infant, she noticed a woman watching her from her basement apartment, according to police.
“It appears that the mother was waiting for [Delgato] to come home,” said Clifford.
Two juvenile detectives canvassed the area in search of the mother of a newborn baby. The detectives saw Lima, who fit the description given by Delgato.
Clifford said that Lima appeared to be in medical distress when approached by the officers and the officers noticed that she was bleeding. After taking her to Jersey City Medical Center, they found that the woman had just given birth and that she was indeed the mother of the abandoned baby, Clifford said.
Police said that Lima told them that after she had the baby, she panicked. They said that she said she knew she could not financially support the baby and that the act was not pre-planned. She described it as a “spontaneous and desperate moment,” police said.
Lima is under police watch at the Medical Center, where she is being held for evaluation. After she is released from the center, Lima will be arraigned at Central Judicial Processing Court in the county courthouse on Newark Avenue in Jersey City.
Sounds too familiar
This is the second time is the past six months that Union City Police Officers had to search for the mother of an abandoned baby.
In July, a healthy, five to six-day old baby boy was found alone in the vestibule of the apartment building at 4500 Brown St. When that incident occurred, Capt. Brian Barret, night commander of the detective bureau, said that the police received a call from one of the building’s residents at 5:38 p.m. The baby was found wrapped in a blue blanket and wearing a blue cap. A plastic bag containing a small baby bottle and one package of Simulac were found next to the infant.
That baby was placed in the care of the state Division of Youth and Family Services and put up for adoption. Police said they exhausted every avenue to find the baby’s mother, but never found her.
Meanwhile, a new state law protecting parents who chose to give up their newborns by bringing them to a hospital was signed into law last July and began on August 7.
The New Jersey Safe Haven Act allows a parent who cannot care for an infant younger than 30 days old to bring the child to a police station or hospital without fear of arrest. Those eligible under this program must be the parent or someone the parent sent to deliver the baby. The parent or person must be acting on his or her own volition. A neighbor cannot take the baby from someone in an effort to save it from a parent.
Also, the parent must intend to permanently give up the child.
To find out more information on the Safe Haven Act, the 24-hour hotline number is (877) 839-2339. To find information on adoption, the number for the Adoption Resource Center of New Jersey is (973) 742-0063.